Digital delay

DTV switch arrives, again; many remain unprepared


The digital television transition is imminent, again. After the Feb. 17 reprieve, the public has had almost four months to get a new television or a converter box hooked up.

But many are still unprepared, including Idaho Public Television, which has six regions in southwest Idaho that will lose most of their public television reception.

IdahoPTV has applied for grants, identified a possible local match and applied for licenses to bring digital TV to affected areas, but it could take three years to fix.

"It's not go down to Radio Shack, buy a toaster and plug it in," said general manager Peter Morrill.

June 12 is the new deadline, and though Morrill blames the Feds for not recognizing the glitch in coverage, there won't be another delay.

"We have worked hand in hand with state and local officials, broadcasters and community groups to educate and assist millions of Americans with the transition," President Barack Obama said recently. "The number of households unprepared for digital television has been cut in half. Still, some people are not ready. I want to be clear: there will not be another delay."

According to a recent FCC press release, in Boise, "Nielsen estimates that about 69,210 households (or 26.4 percent of that media market) rely entirely on over-the-air broadcasts." Also in Boise, according to the FCC, 184,666 people have ordered coupons for their converter boxes, and only 105,473 had been redeemed as of May 30.

Idaho Public Television will shut down its five analog transmitters on June 12 at 10 p.m. after an hourlong broadcast on the digital transition.